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Egypt 37, United States 21, Us 15, U.s. 11, Mr. Maher 8, China 8, California 7, Garamendi 6, Smith 6, Ms. Clark 6, Islam 6, France 5, New America 4, Tom Harkin 4, Mr. Wolf 4, Cairo 4, America 4, Harkin 3, Pitts 3, Mr. Smith 3,
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  CSPAN    Today in Washington    News/Business. News.  

    July 26, 2011
    6:00 - 9:00am EDT  

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>> i have only the one i mentioned, the name i gave, just the name i gave. recognized that this has happened and it is the plan.
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so have one courageous muslim man who is talking about it. most of what i have seen on the tv and what i have read in newspapers are just trying to transfer these events into a false story. and the girls just left by their own will. even coptic, i heard they say it's a false problem because they have been also influenced by the media and by the newspapers they read. so, what is really known is limited, is limited to the christian people. >> thank you. ms. doss, ms. clark? >> i'm sorry, i have not been able to find any in my research. >> i agree with ms. clark. i have heard of anyone actually
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condemning it and coming out and speaking out against these crimes. >> could any of you are perhaps all of you walking through, say, a day in the life of a coptic christian in egypt. get kind of granular and tell me just how it's different from what it should be, just how the persecution, the atmosphere, the discrimination in society presents itself. when you go out industry in the morning. what is different from what it should be when you go to register for a drivers license? when you, say, go to a restaurant? give me a picture about daily life, the daily things we would go through. get granular here. you know, what is different question might also address was different since the revolution, going downhill since then.
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>> sure. i fisa been speaking with a lot of people who have been fleeing egypt. i meet a lot of people are not interested in emigrating to the united states because they describe a situation which is completely intolerable. a day in the life, they hate speech, let's start with that. the microphones that are attached to the mosques, the sermons are filled with hate. and i've heard from several different clients throughout different parts of egypt this new common prayer, may the lord make their wives and widows and their children orphans, and on and on, diseases and destruction and all these different things. this is what people hear when they open up their balcony or open up their window from the local mosque. so you can imagine what these people are thinking when they are hitting the street. aside from spitting, cursing, especially for the women because there is a identified as christian because they are not
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wearing a veil. from the many women i have heard, they just stopped leaving their home. and the men and house have now become responsible for things like food shopping because they are afraid to leave their home. so it's become much more difficult. there is definitely that overall fear for women to leave their homes, and as far as men go, they are dealing with the fear that they may be attacked. the fear of going to churches. i've also heard of approximately 50 churches have closed in the last few months, and coptic solidarity has actually visited 10 of them and confirmed yes, they are, in fact, close. people are now afraid to go to the churches, afraid to walk in the street and if they're identifiable as a coptic. so has impacted the daily lives of coptic christians in egypt. >> ms. clark? >> i want to share an anecdote. when i was visiting egypt and
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company with a coptic woman originally from egypt, we visited the egyptian museum. and she pointed out to me very clearly that species can you push a button? >> it was press, sorry about that. is this better? >> yes. >> thank you. when i was in egypt, i visited with nokia, my co-author and a coptic egyptian, coptic women. we visited the egyptian museum. she pointed out very specifically that none of the guide, the curators and the professional staff in the museum were of coptic origin. this was a deep -- she was deeply disturbed by this because to her it indicated the very custodians of the heritage that wasn't factors, that she could
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claim, they traced the history back thousands of years in egypt that they were cut off from being the custodians of their own heritage. and, therefore, it was an affront to her that you're not allowed to represent some of the history of the country. >> that's her interesting this notion of being there so long, it's their history but how does that play out in the relation between egyptians and copts. is a between muslim egyptians and copts? is this something that occurs in the rhetoric that is directed against copts in any way? does it complicate the rhetoric or relationship? >> i would defer to mr. maher. >> i think, when i was a child at school, we never been taught
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about the coptic history. i learned about my own history when i came to france, because my french wife is a history teacher and she motivated me to discover my own history. but i think there's also many people here at my age, the history of the coptic's were just out of the books. now it starts to be discovered because of the communication. now the muslims start to understand that we had 3000 years of civilization, 3000 before christ, 3000, 5000 before christ. and then 700 years of egypt, christian, by the first century
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was 100% christians. then when the other came, they found only christians and they named them copts. so that's why copts is defined as happened in of egypt. and then for 1400 years there were persecutions. they have asked the people to either convert or to pay their taxes, or to be killed. so many of them have converted to islam, and some of them paid the taxes, and we are the descendents of these people who, not necessarily noble people, but people who could pay the taxes and maintain their religion. and the coptic language was maintained until the 19th century.
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now that people are discovering the store today, a lot of muslims, and even some of the muslim say i am also coptic. i am a coptic muslim. because i bring back my history. the brotherhood's are against that. since the seventh century everything before is erased, does not exist anymore, and we're going towards the arabian peninsula. it was arabian peninsula. so they call the seventh century invasion, they call it opening. it is real innovation, a real conquest. so a lot of muslims labo activis
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today, and one of the activist is calling for muslims to come back, not to change the relation but to come back and recognize their history. how many topics he said in the world have pyramids in the sinks? only in egypt. so you've muslims keep your religion but go back and accept your own history. it is not the arabic culture. so i think it is little by little coming to the surface, and more known. >> thank you. so there is some struggle over the past. now i will turn to ms. hahn for a question. >> i'm wondering if you can describe what the reaction is within the coptic community in terms of, or the working to perhaps change some of their own perceptions, you know, how we can bring our daughters back into the communities, some of the long held stigma that might
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be attached to that? and also if you talk about how are they going about trying to find dollars. i hear from all of your statements that there's very little cooperation with the police. but what other ways, are there any other ways that this sort of banded together to try to protect their community? >> i would just be interested in what sort of response there's been because of the increase in these incidents? >> the more information that gets out about the story, the stronger the families in the community are able to be. because it dispels the myth of shame. it dispels the myth of isolation. and, therefore, in hearings such as this and other reports such as my fellow panelists, there's
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value because it forms, it informs the coptic community that no, these are not isolated instances and that, in fact, their daughters are caught up in a much larger phenomenon, targeted and methodical attack against their values. however, because the phenomenon is just beginning to gain public recognition, a lot of efforts still need to be done. there are pockets of initiatives that impact really deserve to be strengthened your there are individual parish priest and as i indicated in my report and my oral testimony today are greatly concerned about it because they see the daughter disappeared from their own communities. there are monasteries which create shelters in places they don't know, because some families still struggle with the
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notion of taking back their daughter. is this not our honor, but is this not, are these not our daughters? and so they're benefiting from the increased understanding and awareness being raised. one action that coptic families are taking in my research is that they are increasingly struggling to send their daughters to private schools. this is a hardship for me because coptic religious schools are more expensive than public schools, but hopefully in so doing the girls are protected. they are able to have pews, friends among their own peers and they're also able to recognize that it's okay to be a copt. were as many of them are in public schools they sometimes experience -- and their friends with their classmates, like teenage, we're all friends with everybody. peer pressure is a great thing when you're a young adolescent. and the need to belong, they need not to feel that you're
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part of not only a minority but defies minority. it's very difficult for a young person. so parents to private school education as something that can strengthen a young person's sense of individual identity. we are seeing efforts made certainly among coptic communities in the diaspora to spread the news among individuals and among the community to raise greater awareness about this, but this is something that in my subsequent research i look forward to working on a great deal. i teach courses on issues of women in global politics at george washington university. i include these topics in my classes. it's a way to have a level of discourse that is perhaps not been raised. >> they can help girls who come
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back. they can help by putting on the internet a lot of messages now, take care of your girls. but what's happening is more and more now the girls, they always are in fear. i am not even a cousin, she said i don't dress in pants anymore because the pants is becoming a symbol of christian, and so it is a danger. so if you take the examples of almost all the parents go to the police claiming that girl is kidnapped, they are very badly treated by the police there and insult. they even sometimes refuse to make the official claim, and
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they tell them you come back tomorrow or after tomorrow, and and if we hear something we will let you know. that if you hear something, let us know. so i think that these determined people, these radical islamist people who are determined, they said, you know, the people around the schools, and the coptic girls are easily found because she doesn't dress in bales. -- dressed in bales. >> i have heard many accounts i should've family members went first to the police to file the report and essentially given the runaround. and then after persisting, please respond by either beating family members or placing restraining orders on and sank your posing a threat to this girl now. or they would say things that i
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can't even imagine how family members would feel. don't worry, she's married now, she's taken care of. i can't even imagine what a parent of a 16 year old or a 17 year-old is thinking or feeling when hearing a response like that. you know where she is but you're not getting her back to me. in a couple of cases i heard of parents taking matters into their own hands. there was actually a case that was in the paper, i think a couple years ago about a families with a good home where they knew the girl was, took her back, brought her back to their home and then the muslim family came back and took her back forcibly. and police instead of stopping them allowed to grow to be taken back to the muslim family. i actually did speak to one individual who described to me how his daughter was kidnapped, and knew that there was no hope to go to the police, and actually bought her back. he exchanged a piece of property through an attorney and got his
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daughter back and broke her back like a piece of property. so sometimes on occasion people do take things into their own hands, but over all there no help from the legal system. >> ms. doss, that is truly shocking what you say about the police. do you think we're dealing here with a police that does not punish this guy because they have a policy of we don't punish crimes committed by muslims against christians? or because it's even worse than that, because we are okay with, we're fine with it, in fact we think it's in some ways a good thing when this happens? is this almost a kind of quasi-state policy at some local and administrative level? or is it simply, well, we don't like it but we don't do anything
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about it because we don't punish muslim crimes against christians? >> i think it is a policy because you see a clear pattern here. dozens and dozens of family members going to police and reported this, and police knowing where these women are, and turning them away saying, she's now married, she's now married. and what about the case of whether restraining orders gives slapped on the parents? that's the court system interfering. they know where these women are and they are allowing it to continue. it is government action. if you look at the practice, that's what it is. >> ms. clark, mr. maher, do you agree? >> yes, i agree on that. it's a part of the government, the government's plan. we knew that it was planned, the ministry of interior himself was involved in order to show that the government is doing what he
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can to stop and look and so forth on these terrorist. unit, the government of mubarak was always playing both sides, you know, showing external link that mr. mubarak, i am the protector of the copts and then leaving the fanatics and rattle risks -- nothing. it is almost sure that security forces, the security police, i have a file, and in complicity with the people. they have a file at each girl, if each family. and if the commission is set, these files must be found, because they have all the stories. and when the first day, the things happened, they make
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everything to delay in order that the other muslim people get organized, and then in 24 hours they will come with testament saying she went and as muscle now. so the family has nothing to do with them. these are the police work. so they are involved. and what is surprising, this is happening all over egypt. if we see at some people, mohsen said this is a good thing for the muslim people, but this is happening in different areas, if it cities, different villages, and the scenario and the behavior of the police is the same, do nothing. leave it. and shoot the parents away. >> ms. clark? >> yes, mr. maher presented an impressive list of specifics basically by my math close to 1000 documented cases, not a
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single document in prosecution. so, we can definitely -- we can definitely as soon that there's not a lot of forethought or intent pursuing these allegations legally. it's a real problem in any kind of preventative measure, and we need to look at it from that perspective as well. because as these victims recognize that their voices are not being heard and that they have no recourse, and, in fact, that if they tried to seek recourse they and their families will bear serious consequences, they will no longer go forward. and those who could come forward will not. so the lack of prosecution and the lack of investigation, followed by the lack of prosecution, leads to continued ongoing cloak of silence which only exacerbates the problem.
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we've seen this in the anti-trafficking community all too often where instances of legitimate cases of human trafficking are minimized in the public eye and the government i, because victims don't come forward. that doesn't mean that there is not a problem. it just means that there's something going on to prevent women from coming forward and seeking justice. >> it seems we have a very grave problem at the local level for sure. i would like to ask you, is there any level of government where diplomatically this issue can be raised and find a sympathetic ear? local government is implicit in and sometimes encouraging or in league with abductors, people who are involved in forced marriages, forced conversion? is there a particular ministry and the government, aside from the police ministry, where we
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would get a more sympathetic ear with this problem, i different level, perhaps the highest level does not approve this, but a policy rather than as so many countries do about punishing its own believe when they do the wrong thing. i mean, i'm looking for a glimmer of hope for a place or ministry. level or angle where this issue can be most constructively raised. >> in some of the conversations i've had i think you could look at what happens within the conversion process. and what was of great interest to me was the extension of the counseling session. these counseling sessions were designed, in fact, if a copt to grow was in a particular situation, mandatory counseling session with a member of her clergy as well as members of the muslim community was designed so, in fact, she could hear from a member of her own clergy if
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you convert to islam, you may never again convert back to your religion. your children will be raised as muslims. this is what will happen. now often, and certain because the conversion is produced under duress very rapidly, following acts of violence, there's really very little awareness or understanding of what's actually at stake when a young woman converts and goes through this particular process. so that's one very specific institutional function that should be reinstated in order to help protect young women who are being converted. >> ms. doss, mr. maher? >> if i can expand on something ms. clark mention. the counseling session. as far as i understood, this takes place in security officers. so that's also an indication that they were aware of what was
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happening. and i have spoken to people that also i wish is entitled to a family member there. she's entitled to see a family member and her priest. and i've spoken to family members who have been in these meetings with his kidnapped girl and i described a drug girl who couldn't even respond or think when she was sitting there. one client once mentioned to me that as his sister sat there for like three minutes, the one thing she said to him was, i have to do it for the children. and then they just took her away. she left behind two children, two coptic children. so obviously this is an indication that they're aware and they're participating in the process. >> it has changed it before the revolution and after the revolution. before the revolution since the regime was playing a double game you could always find somebody in the government and try to put
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a little bit of pressure on. after the revolution there is no more security forces, no more police for the whole country. so, the problem is becoming even worse. because before it was planning, working families, trying to reduce or attract, but now they just put them in the car, in the taxi and go with them. they are not only young girls, even married women. it is becoming disastrous after the revolution. one, they destroyed the church. and it was seen on the tv. we can see the people with their axes breaking down the walls of the church. you can see the man on the top of the door of the church sang and shouting and inside and the people to come and destroy the church.
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all these people have been seen. said the same people, the government want to ask them because they had wanted to solve the solution, they decided that the church will be reconstructed. but they had to get the authorization from these people, from the a mom. they had to go ask him as a fat want to say we can start to work on reconstruction. so i think there is today, in a complex of today there's only one way it is and outside pressure, the international community must have one voice. this is not acceptable. this has to reach the military council. they have the power. they are in fear because of
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money. so the message should be clear. we are going to help you and give you money. but things are rotten in your country. 30 years invested by hate is not going to be resolved in 24 hours. i mean, at least two generations. to come back to what i was living in my childhood. so i think on the international pressure, only american pressure, european pressure and international community pressure, outside pressure, clear message would make them move. >> thank you. and it sounds like this pressure should be directed at the professional, military groups that have some of the different ethos than the new government. >> also the prime minister in the government. >> thanks very much. that chairman is back with us.
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>> ms. doss, i was interested in your practice, have you come across or have they been successful aside in case his? given the fact that we don't have prosecutions, or the art of evidence, there is no evidence of prosecution of the cases within egypt, you don't have a documented trail of evidence about this type of persecution. and also the vague language that we've seen in the report, have you been able to make any cases or have there been any asylum cases, or how is the u.s. immigration service handling these types of requests? or are there any requests? >> that's a very good question.
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actually there are lots of people vying for asylum cases right now. and person with myself, we are at a 99% grant rate, which is amazing. and when i say granted, i mean granted within eight weeks from the day you found until the day you get granted. so they've been very supportive of coptic christians and their plight. and some of represent them would go through great lengths of supply, supporting documents about what's happening in egypt. of course, what would be more helpful is if we had the state department making an official determination that the pattern and practice and bring prosecution against copts. proving that you're coptic christian should not be at this point based on what it is that we're seeing out there. so we have met actually with representatives in the state department and asked, please, make a conclusion of this report. you describe pattern and practice but you haven't spelled it out. you need to draw that conclusion. we definitely encourage that.
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>> thank you very much. we are joined by congressman wolf, the chairman of the appropriations committee that deals with the justice department. we are also joined by the chairman of the constitution subcommittee for the judiciary committee, congressman franks of arizona who is also the chairman of the religious freedom caucus here in the house. i would like to yield if you have any comments. >> well, i really don't -- [inaudible] >> coptic christians have been treated very, very poorly in egypt. and i hope whatever the coptic does,.
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[inaudible] but i'm looking forward to reading your testimony. >> i would just echo, as well as your own comments. always grateful to your lifelong commitment. oftentimes we are thankful in this country for our constitutional rights, protecting the lives of our citizens. and yet we forget the salvation of really all freedom, that there is religious freedom, because without that, of course, there is no other type of freedom. and some of us are especially concerned about the plight of coptic christians in egypt and other places. the reports of children, or
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young women being forced into marriages within, kind of force into marrying people and maybe have a totally different perspective in their freedoms, being overcome in that regard. those are things that the media should be focused on and looking at very carefully. because those reports are unsettling to say the least for a young woman, 16, 17 years old who is forced to marry someone outsider faith for the very purpose is of trying to rob her of religious freedom, among other things. and i just again am grateful to chairman smith. the final analysis even in this country when we have a condemned killer and they're going to be put to death for their crimes, we still recognize their religious freedoms. and it is the last bastion of
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freedom there is. and if we in this country who are known for our commitment to freedom, if we don't defend and do what we can to protect our brothers and sisters across the world, then i'm afraid we have hastened the day when that door of coercion will, when the and of coercion will be knocking on our own door. so thank you, mr. chairman their very much and i hope you'll forgive me but i do have to go to another gathering. but i want to commend everyone that is in this battle, and hope we can be part of assisting you in the future. >> thank you so very much. i would like to ask representative michelle clark, you might be the best to answer this, the president has gone to cairo and gave his famous cairo speech. secretary of state has obviously raised issues relevant to egypt on numerous occasions. has the obama administration raised the issue of kidnapping
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of coptic girls and young women? have they done it in a way that hasn't had any kind of consequence? and we are now, the united states, members of the u.n. human rights council which is supposed to be the fall onto the egregiously flawed human rights commission which never did much of anything except the rate israel. i mean, even insiders at the u.n. said the council, or the commission had to go. regrettably, it's almost like dÉjÀ vu all over again, to quote yogi berra, it's like the same organization. but we do have a seat on the human rights council. has the united states raised the kidnapping and trafficking, sex trafficking of young coptic girls and women at the human rights council, any other thing at the united nations, and
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hasn't been raised on a government to government level with the highest officials in egypt? >> mr. smith, thank you for the question. my answer is no. as to the best of my knowledge. in preparation for testimony today, i have been actively reviewing any current news that postdates the publication of my report, it and the recent research would have the most current information available and i've not been able to find anything to that effect. if it exists i have not yet seen it. i would venture, however, that minot knowing about this means that it doesn't exist. you perhaps our family with the challenges that we face in including egypt and the 2010 tip report. we initially presented the findings, some of our findings to the office of combat moderate driving and the initial response
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was these are only allegations. thanks to you and the sport of other members of congress in a bipartisan way, ambassador to block was encouraged to revisit the issue and, in fact, egypt was then included in the 2010 tip report. it was not the issue of the coptic christian women was not raised this year. but for the base on the studies that i intend to continue, we hope as per your recommendation are in this hearing to continue to advance that issue. >> we will invite as i indicated earlier, the ambassador was the point person on human trafficking to a commission hearing. he has been here before. to ask specifically what have they done in chronological order, this is something that is not new, what is that office that it would also ask michael posner was the assistant secretary for democracy, labor
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and human right and will ask the secretary herself, although i doubt you'll make her wait up to capitol hill. she really does, to answer this question. and westminster response, if any, because to the best of my knowledge, this has been a nonissue. and that oversight has to in and asked in here today. chairman will? [inaudible] >> mr. wolf, thank you for that. as i noted earlier come in three senses of the typical, the use of the word allegation or alleged is used i believe five times. so there's less than a committed interest. >> what number do you believe we're talking about? how many individuals would we be talking about per year are made over the last 10 years? if it's one it's too many. can you give me what the numbers that you believe this may very well be? i'm at a disadvantage.
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i saw one monastery, 45. when i was there, some of the coptic christians raised this issue. that's what i said they should be one of the things when foreign affairs bill comes up, or as foreign operations bill, there ought to be a conditionality. i mean, for so many years the egyptian government has rolled it is congress, both political parties, republican and democratic administrations, powerful people, a former congressman and others to lobby for them. and these issues never, never come. now with the opportunity of new elections and hopefully a clean slate, if you will, there has to be some sort of conditionality. but how many do you believe we are talking, countrywide? >> again, great, great question. and again in the early days of the anti-trafficking movement, we run up against the challenge of numbers. but i'm trying to remedy that, and as my fellow panelists here
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and i will turn the floor over to him in a minute. in the early days of the tip report, 100? was sufficient for a country to be included in the tip report. since then they have done a way with the number. i would just like to say that the methodology i used in the report in egypt was a similar methodology i used to use document trafficking cases, the word allegation is never included backing. i find it odd the same methodology wanted the use of the word methodology in this current tip report. mr. maher, you had some interesting numbers. perhaps you'd like to repeat them for his troubles benefit. -- for chairman wolf spent the. but i was you're looking at several thousand cases a year. >> yes, i think, i should one page, one girl. these are copies i got from the human rights organization in cairo -- >> did you submit it to the committee? >> i will make a copy.
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no problem. so, these are just samples but i did make copies of everything. these were parents who came to look for their daughter. are we set to give members that we are sure of, so this decision, they once had 800 cases since 2009. so they have 800 sheet of papers. one paper, one girl. 45 cases under 18 since january, since march, after revolution. and for five years between 2005-2010, they know 275 cases under 18, and 400 cases over 18. so these are the figures. we are sure of.
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but we're also sure that there are thousands. >> because the families are reluctant to come forward in fear of the government? >> yes. this is one of the reasons. the other is they don't have money. most of them may be from, you know, poor people. so they cannot go to hire a lawyer, and they are just powerless. >> one other question. has the pope has spoken out on this? >> yes. >> when? >> i saw him on the tv every wednesday. he give lectures. and one time, a mother was present and she shouted about her daughter disappearing. and, of course, they reacted with a lot of activity.
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and say, please come and we will help you. and he said we know other cases. believe me, we do our best. that was public. we know a lot of cases and we're doing our best. but the man from the church is what? is going to the government and say, these -- do something, and then nothing happened. >> mr. chairman, i think and patterson is coming back -- coming by to see me next week i think. the current ambassador has just left. the dcm is acting. he has been appointed to another country. but i will raise this and i think the committee ought to raise this with the new ambassador. she's a good person, and i think to force this issue whereby when she hits the ground running this is one the very first issues that she raises. again, i'm going to read all the tests one and i appreciate, and
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chris, thanks for having a hearing. >> thank you very much. commission of its. >> thank you. >> jill pages chairman of the health subcommittee come one of the important committees of the caucus on energy and commerce committee but is also a commissioner. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate a testament that i was able to hear. unfortunately, we had a series of votes we had to run so of course i missed some of it. but i appreciate the questions focus on the kidnapping issue. caroline doss, how does this issue fit into the wider context of what is happening today, regarding the new constitution and the joint cooperation of secular and religious civil society leaders? >> unfortunately as you all may be aware, article ii of the constitution, very clearly
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states islamic law is the primary source of legislation. so that when you do have a conflict, that's after what winds up winning out. so when you have a situation where muslim would like to convert to christianity, that is the legislation that they refer to. so it's having a secular constitution and removing things from the constitution such as that, that basically invalidates freedom to choose and freedom of religion. that's something that will help the egyptian society move forward. there is a special paper actually that was written on the basic provisions in the constitution. okay, actually, great. >> mr. chairman, without objection i would like to submit for the record newspaper she is referring to. it's entitled freedom, dignity, social justice, basic provisions in the constitution. and it is signed a human rights ngos, 27 signatures. if you could enter that into the record. you may proceed.
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you may proceed. >> i think obviously this would provide a much more detailed analysis of the improvements that need to be made to the constitution to make it more secular. >> what type of activity is occurring from those who are not extremists in relation to the new constitution that will soon be written, can you comment on that? >> i honestly haven't seen any support to make it more of a secular state. obviously there are moderates out there, but they're not the strong force. and the stronger voice are those of the extremists. >> for any of you, what do you see in terms of trends relating to minorities, possibly fleeing egypt, like what happened in iraq? what would you recommend to the u.s. government and other international bodies regarding that? >> if you opened the door today for immigration you will get millions.
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>> you get what? >> 12 million copts who want to come. >> i agree with mr. maher. i've been seeing, it seems like an exodus. i don't have room in my office anymore in a file cabinet which is honestly hiding out in boxes for people are dying to get out. and it isn't just the lower class or the middle class anymore. now you're seeing the upper class wanting and needing to leave, but they are leaving on and faster visa because they have the financial backing to do something like that. to the average person who would like to get out and can get out, perhaps maybe easing up on visas your visas to christians in the u.s. embassy. there are a lot of christians who are horribly persecuted and need to get out but can't get out and are denied visas in the u.s. embassy. >> now, earlier your written testimony refers to a security threat. earlier this year to the coptic community in the u.s. would you elaborate on that?
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>> yes. one of the attachments to the package that was submitted was there shockingly a terrorist threat that was posted on the electronic networks which is the jihadi foreign group, also connected with al qaeda. and on it in arabic, there's an attached translation, you see a list of coptic churches throughout egypt with their telephone numbers, and a list of churches, coptic churches outside egypt, including here in the united states. at the bottom of that list is a how to make a bomb out of a pepsi can, out of a water bottle, how to propel it, and how to successfully bomb a church. due to this threat, the security on the churches in the united states was heightened. and this was before christmas january 7, 2011. personally i recall attending these means were security officials briefed the churches
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in the new york and pennsylvania and new jersey area on how they should increase their security. they had a helicopter flying above. some of the churches have bomb sniffing dogs go through them. that is is something we should have to deal with here in the united states. this list includes churches on the united states which means there's a spillover from the terrorism that is happening in egypt to hear in the united states. this is something that's hitting us here, that we should be concerned about. these are i think what they call soft targets, things that we don't expect a terrorist will target. places filled with people and inside the united states where there's normally no security. so it's an issue i think that the united states needs to address. if we allow this extremism to grab hold of egypt, there's a very high likelihood it will come over here. >> may i add something, please? >> yes or. >> the same thing is happening in europe and in france. i can talk about france, it's where i'm living. there was a list of all the churches in paris, about eight
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of them. and their addresses. and a list of my friends in the coptic associations which are targeted as the changes for islam. this happened the same time after a bombing. and because the french minister of interior, he insisted to come on the christmas eve which is sixth of january, to be present at the church as simple. and on the second day on christmas, all the churches have been surrounded by drugs of security. -- trucks of security. this is also what's happening in the states is happening in france, happening in europe. >> mr. maher raises a good point, if i may say. or a list of the coptic individuals who are deemed enemies of islam throughout the world actually, the u.s. and in canada.
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i myself happen to be on that list and got a home visit from an fbi agent telling me i'm on this list, and if anything strange happens, please feel free to give us ago. i know canada took the threat more seriously and actually investigated and those all over the newspaper there. but the united states is aware of that, and that's also again evidence that this is spilling over because they are threatening people that are not even from egypt and they are angry about the fact that they are speaking about this issue. >> finally, mr. chairman, i didn't hear the testimony and your comment, is there evidence that these kidnappings or, you know, seizing the girl for forced marriage, these being used as far as extortion from some of the christian coptic businessman? are you aware of anything like that happening in each of? in other words, if they say give
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us $30,000 we will give her back to you, is that kind of thing happening? >> not so much. some messages, they call the father and they didn't ask money. they said leave the village. leave egypt and maybe you will get your girl back. the mother i talked to receive phone calls asking for money, but not ve not very seriously. because it is only question of money she would have done everything to get her girl back. it's not a question of getting money. it is a question of islam rising, humiliating, a part of a strategic plan to get egypt muslim islamic country with in cal a fight coming back again in the world. spent i would agree, the kidnappings forced conversions and forced marriages do not appear to be based on that
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evidence as well on any commercial motive, but rather an ideological motive. >> thank you, mr. chairman. very important hearing. i hope the appropriate agencies of our government are notified of the testimony. >> without a doubt there will. thank you commission. we're joined by the distinguished gentleman from florida, the chairwoman of the house committee on foreign affairs. i would note yesterday after two days of markup on the foreign relations of markup act, with her strong support, we approved a very strongly worded resolution calling for religious freedom for coptic christians with a particular emphasis on disappeared and abducted and kidnap coptic girls and young women. michele clark, madam chair, thousands of coptic girls go missing or are abducted every year. and that is absolutely underappreciated, is being met
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with indifference, by so many at the state department that it is mind-boggling. i healed. >> thank you very much, chairman smith. and as the chairman had pointed out, yesterday in our full committee on foreign affairs, we concluded last night the robust days of markup, debate and adoption of many measures that deal with security for young girls around the world, and no issue is more pressing than this horrific pattern of kidnappings and torture and forced marriages of coptic christian girls in egypt, and the fear that it would spread elsewhere. thanks to the leadership of chairman smith who chairs the after global health and human rights subcommittee. the committee adopted provisions
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that he sponsored that seek to address this specific threat of coptic christians, and other religious and ethnic minorities, and we will continue to work with chairman smith and other congressional leaders, and in that group are the two gentlemen to my right, congressman wolf has been fighting on this issue for so many years as has congressman joe parents. will continue to work with these fearless leaders. my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to make sure that we have leverage, u.s. assistance to egypt to compel changes on this horrific tragedy here and in light of the information about the linkage to activities in the u.s. that you brought out about church bombings, et cetera, or nefarious acts
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against poor innocent young ladies, i will work with the chairman of the homeland security committee, congressman peter king of new york, to hold joint hearings in the foreign affairs committee to investigate these horrific acts. and chris smith, frank wolf and joe pitts have been leading the charge in congress, as you know. that's the reason that you are here. on this subject for many years. and yes there can be random acts of violence in every country. no one is immune from that. but this is totally different. this is orchestrated. this is approved, because these horrific acts cannot be, cannot take place everyday in egypt unless the egyptian authorities look away. and this is the difference between a random act, let's say here in the united states, of
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police brutality, that does happen, and an organized pattern of police brutality against civilians. that does not happen and is never condone. and what is going on in egypt for young christian coptic, young ladies, 12 years old, 11 years old, raped repeatedly by men, and that brings dishonor to the family so that they are shunned. and then the father who is able to wrestle the girls away from this degrading and violent and abusive relationship, brings the case to the authorities, and the authorities not just look away, they are part of the beating as well to this girl, to bring further dishonor to her so that she is shunned by her family and by her community. so it is a sad chain-link of the abuses and degradation of the
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integrity of a human being. and in this case, innocent young girls who want to practice their faith. and their crime is that they are coptic christians. they have done no wrong and they are forced into these marriages, and they are forced into conversions and given no respect for their human rights. it is shocking. it is appalling. and what's appalling is not just that it happens to one or two, that would be shameful enough, but that it is a pattern and it is a repeated pattern. and i'm glad that we have congressional leaders like the ones here who are bringing focus to this issue. and as i'm sure that congressman smith has pointed out, through his leadership he has the reauthorization bill that is coming out before our committee in the fall. and so we are dealing with a coptic christian girls issue as
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a trafficking issue. we are dealing with it as an abuse of human rights issue. and we will make sure that we can continue to shine congressional light and human light on this horrific problem. and we have a lot of funds that go to many countries, and these are tough economic times here at home. so if we are to help other countries so that they can become prosperous societies, therefore, good neighbors and people who follow human rights and universally accepted human rights, then let's be careful about the way we allocate funds and let's look at issues at one of these countries are cooperating in terms of respecting religious minorities and respecting the rights of girls to blossom into young women freely and without this forced coercion, and these
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forced marriages and forced conversions. so, i know that our committee will be hard at work on this issue because we have chris smith in our committee. and i think congressman pitts and congressman wolf husband working tireless on this. so your work and your testimony will be heeded by the nose of our committee. i thank the chairman for the opportunity to stop by. .. >> thank you.
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>> i want to thank the distinguished chairwoman of our full committee. it was a marathon session, and i thank her for being here and for so strongly backing the amendment dealing with coptic christians and especially coptic women who are being coerced and put into forced marriages. thank you so much for your leadership on that. thank you. i would like to now yield to renee ellmers from north carolina who chair it is subcommittee -- chairs the subcommittee, one of the subcommittees on the small business committee, she's also on foreign affairs as the distinguished gentle lady from florida just said and has really become a rising star overnight in the republican party. [laughter] >> i don't know about that. thank you, mr. chairman. it is an honor to be here, and i came for a few minutes, um, just, you know, congressman smith is just, he is a heroic figure for us here in congress. he has been fighting for human rights issues across the world
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for years, and we look up to him so much. he is such a voice for us, as is ileana. she is wonderful. it's great to be in the presence and working with those individuals who value life at every level. and we will continue that fight as i move forward. it's an honor for me as a freshman. i am just one of many very strong pro-life fighters for freedom around the world and especially women's rights. and so this, this is such a wonderful opportunity for me to be here and listen at least for a few minutes to what you have to say. thank you so much for coming and give canning us this -- and giving us this personal face to this issue that's happening. because this is one of those areas that so many just are not aware of. and when we bring these things to light, everyone wins. and we want very much to help in this situation and to eradicate
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this terrible, terrible crime that continues. so thank you for being with us today. >> ms. ellmers, thank you very much. let me just ask some final questions and go to mr. wolf. first, if i could in -- any of our panel cysts. it's a party to the genocide convention and also, obviously, is held up for periodic review before the human rights council. the united states certainly is a party to the genocide convention, and my question would be has any of those treaty bodies investigated, has there been an attempt to get a special -- [inaudible] for example, designated to go and look at coptic church discrimination and especially this horrific abuse which i am shocked that any muslim cleric could in any way be indifferent
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to? kidnapping is an egregious crime. human trafficking is among the worst crimes on the face of the earth. thisthis does not put a good fan islam, the faith that there's either indifference to or acquiescence or perhaps even enabling and party to these kinds of abuses. general side convention, has the au done anything vis-a-vis this or any other regional body? and finally, do you know of any muslim clerics, imams, for example, who have spoken out against the abduction and forced islamization? let me remind everyone that the definition of the -- in be part, pertinent part of the genocide convention is that it is the deliberate and systematic destruction in whole or in part of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group.
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it seems to me force islamization -- and that's not just of the woman, but any children that she bears -- clearly would fit any definition of genocide against the cops in egypt. and finally, michele clark, you were talking earlier this your opening comments about forced fraud and coercion and, obviously, trafficking fits -- this fits the trafficking definition as to what's going on. and you say, and i think with emphasis, no longer an allegation, it's a fact. it's now what do we do with that fact. and i'm wondering if you could speak to what happens to underaged girls. because, you know, the definition, and you are very much a part of all of this, our own trafficking victims' protection act, any woman who does not attain the age of 18 fits the definition of trafficking. there need be no element of force, fraud or coercion although, obviously, it only adds exclamation points if there
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is. and also for dr. clark, egypt in 2010 moved from the watch list to tier ii amazingly. with all of this going on. i find that shocking. where in the recommendation for egypt in the tip report is for implementation of the 2010 trafficking law which is one of the reasons why they were moved down. it was a hope rather than based on real, tangible actions on the job, on the ground. does this trafficking law in egypt include any body or mechanism such as a commission or special office to receive reports of trafficking or child marriage or this whole forced issue of abducting young coptic girls? so it's a number of questions, please, all of you take a shot. >> i'll begin because i can answer, look to some of the specific ones. as mr. maher and i have indicated, mr. chairman, the issue of abductions and forced marriages occurs, um, regardless
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of age. there's documented evidence of young girls as young as 11 and 12 or 16 and 17. obviously, child-bearing age is one of the primary considerations in this situation is since, as you said, the objective, one of the objectives is a war of attrition. and, um, so women who can bear muslim children are, um, are particularly targeted. to my knowledge, no, this is not being specifically addressed in egypt by the various anti-trafficking bodies that exist. there is no particular focus on this in large part because the issue of this is a trafficking, as a trafficking, as a trafficking instance remains disputed. i've indicated that we need to remove the word "allegation." it doesn't help any of us, and evidence is now consistent with
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anecdotal reports that i believe we can and we should remove the word. the challenge as we've faced throughout the history of the anti-trafficking movement is to what extent are the young women in collusion with this situation. but, and the answer is blatantly not at all. they do not want to go along with these, with these instances. they have no idea what they're concepting to. commercial exchange does not have to be present to make the case for trafficking. these women are being exploited for ideological gain, but nowhere does the protocol palermo to which the u.s.' signatory, for example, stipulate that it's that nonfinancial gain is not part of trafficking. so this fits the definition. it needs to be pursued as such.
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>> i believe that, cdall, i have no documentation that it's being preserved, and i will leave the genocide issue to my more capable colleagues. >> each human rights meetings in geneva and different occasions the position of the egyptian government was always the same, we are doing our best. the coptic problem does not exist. the government never recognized that there is something called cops in egypt suffering with unjustice. all they will call is confessional disputes. you can find the perpetrators, everyone knows who they are, but they are transformed into reconciliation sessions, people coming together, and the victim
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just doesn't use any -- [inaudible] the government never put in place something to solve the problem because he never recognized that there is a problem. so if there is no problem, why the different commissions or genocide from united nations commission and so on would act? now, many muslim liberals are coming up and asking the military council, the government to recognize that there is a problem, and unless this will be solved, the country will continue to go down and down. >> i am, actually, not aware of anybody taking any particular action, but i can say that personally i did meet with someone in january 2010 after the attack in the genocide
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department at the united nations, and i actually did present them with a package that presented evidence of genocide. but we haven't heard anything back from them. >> [inaudible] >> microphone? >> a lot of the blame, though, is really in this congress and this administration and be previous administrations. again, if you go to the lobbyists -- [inaudible] lobby for egypt over the years, and both administrations have advocated for mubarak, and there have been amendments on the floor, and everybody got up to say what a great friend be mubarak was, and we have given him over $50 billion. there will be an amendment to strike this when it comes up. there will be an amendment with regard to foreign operating funding. they fundamentally -- a lot of
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the blame rests right here in the united states congress. go back and look at the debates. i can be -- [inaudible] whereby people say they just got back from a codel, and mubarak was such a wonderful man, he did all these wonderful things, and we ought not condition it. so really, i think there ought to be some complaints and direction on both the previous administrations, republican and democrat. when i was in egypt three weeks ago, i couldn't help but notice, i was in the embassy. as i walked down the hall, all the pictures of all the former presidents with a very large, big smile with who? mubarak. they're all in. they just put out a new book, the 'em was si put out a -- embassy put out a new book. president obama's on the cover, and it shows all the previous people, republican and democrat, who have been with this administration. so a lot of the fault lies here, and we'll see what the spine is with this congress when these issues are offered because i
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think there's a lot of blame right here in river city by republicans and democrats. the coptic christians and, frankly, i don't want to see the coptic christians leave egypt. egypt and the middle east without christians will not be the middle east. and for too long people up here and in the previous administration have been reluctant to advocate for people who are being persecuted because they're christians whether it be in afghanistan, pakistan or egypt. and the two questions that i have, how many connections have there been -- convictions have there been over the last several years, do you have any -- and how many occasions do you know where the american embassy has advocated for these cases? generally, when there's a problem, members go to the embassy, they advocate it. how many times has the american embassy participate and been
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involved in any different cases? >> thank you very much, mr. wolf. there have been, in the 50 cases i was involved with personally, there were two investigations, neither investigation resulted in any legal process, so there are no convictions, um, resulting as of, as of complaints to the effective kidnappings, forced marriages and forced converses of coptic christian women. to my knowledge, also, and according to my research the u.s. embassy has not advocated on behalf of these women. >> one last thing, mr. chairman. as you have this record, i urge you to send it to leon panetta. our military has a very good relationship, in fact, as i think our military has a better relationship and more clout with the egyptian government and the egyptian military than does our state department. and i think leon panetta, one of the recommendations i made is that leon panetta send some top
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generals over who have relationships with their generals to put some of these things on the table. thank you for your testimony, i will read it all and, chris, thanks for having the hearing. >> chairman wolf, thank you very much. commissioner pitts, do you have any -- >> there you go, thanks. just one question on the problem we've encountered in the past raised with the former egyptian government, and that is the problem of the government-issued id cards including a reference to, that bears religious affiliation. victims have discovered their national id card designates them as muslim even though thai convert -- they've converted. and subsequent children that that may have, likewise, automatically designated on their cards. and conversion from islam is considered to be an act of
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appositivety si. can you just expound a little bit on the implication of this problem for the victims? any of you? >> i can give you an example. this is one, mohamed hegazi is another one. these are two people who dared saying publicly that they converted from muslim to christianity. mohamed hegazi ask the courts to officially change his religion from muslim to christian. it went through the different levels of courts and was refused. the other person is a 16-year-old girl today. she also dared going to the court and asked to change identity card and was finally refused. but in between there was a fatwa
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from the mosque publicly on the microphones saying wherever you find him, kill him. and, you know, you are doing good for and you are, you go to paradise. so for three years he had to go from one place to another. i met him. i know his testimony in details. and he went from one place to another. his daughter of 16 years old now, it's almost three years she hasn't been to school. after revolution he succeeded to go out. before they confiscated his passport, he has been beaten, and he was not allowed to go away. and then he left to syria because he didn't have a visa to go, came to france, and now he's in germany. and he would like to come to the states because his wife is in the united states, and he's waiting for all the process to
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be done in order to, you know, to come to see her, his wife. but just to see, you know, what's the mentality is, you know, what's happening to the kidnapped girls is an image of the egyptian society. as mr. mubarak left it. as he managed to give a false image about his country. as he managed that the united states put $50 billion for what? the result is to bring the muslim brotherhood, you know, the most radicals? so our pledge as a coptic today is, please, do something, you know, to delay the elections. in order that the egyptian liberals, the muslim liberals get and other parties have the time to have that place and not
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only leave the place to the muslim brotherhood, the early, the early election in september or november bring the muslim brotherhood. and we, you know, the military doesn't need that. it doesn't mean we don't want democratic election, it's only we don't want it now. we want, as united states history, work the constitution and see what it will come. will it be a country where -- [inaudible] or will they say we want it like sharia law and become like afghanistan, pakistan and so on? if it is egyptstan then, you know, the financial aid should stop immediately. if they want to go to another country, there is no place for religion in the constitution. that is the question, is not to hold a dem cracks election -- democratic election in europe. oh, they just delayed it again.
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we want them to delay again and again. we don't want elections now. we want the liberals, they are a lot of good muslim liberals. we want them to work with the copts and other muslims and to bring a good constitution for a better egypt, a modern egypt for tomorrow. >> michele. >> thank you. just very briefly to answer your question, mr. pitts, on what are the implications. the young woman returns to her family after having been kidnapped and forcibly converted and forcibly married. the consequences in her life are as follows: she cannot marry within her own church because she's formally listed as a muslim, so she can't resume her life. her life is to live, to be ever live inside limbo. furthermore, if, and as i have talked to such women, she does marry, her marriage is illegal because she's a muslim woman and not allowed to marry a christian
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man. consequently, children that would be born to that couple would be illegitimate children and would not be given a national identity. and finally, as a muslim on her identity card she would not be given, she would not be allowed to be buried in a christian cemetery. so, in fact, she is forcibly for the rest of her life denied any public relationship with the thing that is most precious to her which is her faith. >> now, because of the lack of religious freedom, um, and some calling for egypt to be designated, um, as a country of particular concern under our international religious freedom act, um, do you have any thoughts on that designation? what's your view of this question? >> well, i've carved out a little bit of a niche for
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myself, so anything i say is based on this. but, certainly, if you deny the right of a woman to have a voice in the most fundamental aspects of her life -- marriage, the birth of her children and a place to be buried -- then i really challenge a country's position on religious freedom. >> so you would favor them being designated a country of particular concern? >> i said based on what i know now, it would appear -- >> any other views or comments? do you agree with that? >> i absolutely do agree with that. it does deserve to be labeled as a country of particular concern. i think, actually, it's long overdue. >> yeah. >> based on what we have seen and the trends just in our own reports here, it should have been labeled a country of particular concern a long time ago but for our relationship and their strong lobby, we haven't, unfortunately, seen it until recently. >> thank you.
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mr.-- >> just impure ri is not -- impurity is not admissible. impurity of people who burn churches, who kill christians, of rapists. all this put egypt just in this category. >> yep. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman, for this important hearing, for your leadership on the issue. >> chairman pitts, thank you so much for your leadership. as i said earlier, when it comes to coptic christians, frank wolf, joe pitts, they work it every single day. and so i want to thank -- and let me just say one brief comment of what chairman wolf said earlier. i had met myself with mubarak in cairo, and every year he would come at least once a year to the united states. and whenever we -- and i wasn't the only one -- would raise with great documentation human rights abuses against coptic christians, he would lean back and say talk to boutros galley who was, i guess, at least a
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nominal coptic christian. and i said, no, we're talking to you, mr. president, but we would still be diverted to boutros galely who would take the information and say everything is just fine. so we know, clearly, that was not true, but it seem to be getting significantly better. i have just a couple final questions and then any final comments our distinguished witnesses would like to make, please, do. how should we be pressing saudi arabia or others on what you've cited in your testimony as the financial and philosophical support for this horrific and be barbaric practice of kidnapping and forcing women into marriages? >> i think it doesn't come from the government of saudi arabia. the problem is it comes from individuals. and i think it's very hard to, you know, maybe the message should be to the government of saudi arabia saying they have to press their citizen in order to stop it. but it doesn't come from the
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saudi government. >> and be would you -- and would you like to make any final comment before we conclude this hearing? any of our distinguished witnesses? >> if i may make just one comment. going back to the issue of the pattern and practice and impunity. the perpetrators of these crimes, a lot of them we're very well aware of who they are. the perpetrators of the crimes in the attacks against the churches, the individuals who participated in the tortures and state security, what do we do when these people come and a i ply to visas for the united states? is there some sort of mechanism we could use to prevent them from entering the united states? we know who they are, we have their names. i remember back in 2007, if i may just make a comment about this, it was january, 2007. the, this extremist islamic cleric was granted a visa by the united states to enter the united states. this man openly on his web site
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supports jihad. and our government gave him a vis a vis to -- visa to the united states. i have done an interview on him on msnbc live and read the quotes right off of this guy's web site. they gave him a visa to here. and at one point in time i heard, i don't know if it's true or not, that he was exiled from egypt. so this radical person has been given entry to the united states. they're known torturers, known offenders and violaters of human rights. maybe we should have some sort of reporting mechanism to put these people on the watch list. >> thank you. >> thank you so much, mr. smith, again, for holding this hearing. so many of us are so grateful to you and, again, for your sustained leadership in, on behalf of women and children. um, i'd like to conclude by drawing a few lessons from the fight against human trafficking where after 11 years now in and around the world we've begun to see tiny, but nonetheless
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sustained measures. one of the challenges that we must face, and it sounds as if you're really head anything that direction is to name -- heading in that direction is to name the offense. we have to say this is what's happening, this is the crime that's occurring, this is how we know it, this is who it's being done to. in the absence of naming a crime, everything else can be, just can dissolve into rhetoric and lofty statements that eventually become forgotten. the second thing we need to do that we've learned as result of seeing how the tip reports has had, has taken effect is to follow through with teeth. we, removing the word "allegation" is one important message. challenging status on tier levels is another important way that the u.s. government can go after this. we have to show that our naming of the offense also carries with it the strength and
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determination to follow through. the third thing that we can do is continue, as you've begun in this hearing, to disseminate the knowledge and information about what is taking place. the more the veil of mystery, shame and stick ha of a crime -- and something ma of a crime is removed, the greater a potentially victimized people can feel empowered, and the greater the anti-trafficking, the advocacy community can come together on behalf of perspective victims. and finally, we can empower the coptic community it to take ownership knowing that actions on their part will be protected and not subject to government reprisal. we can encourage the distribution of information, in fact, that should be, perhaps, an object of funding. we can encourage the protection of shelters and safehouses, and we can insure the inviability of
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the families which seek to take back their young women and help them to establish their lives according to freedom of conscious, religion and the hopes and dreams of every other young girl. thank you, mr. smith. >> dr. clark? >> i think we have just to take the opportunity of the revolution of today and give as much messages to the military council and the government as we can. they are, they recognize they don't have a political experience. they are ready, i think, to get the conditions, so the external messages of the international community must be clear. only external, outside pressure will make the things move. >> thank you very much. thank you all. you know, mr. wolf, chairman wolf had a very good point about military to military, and we will follow up on that, and i know he will as well with incoming department of defense
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secretary panetta. and i also would point out recently a group from egypt was here in town looking for debt relief. i came to that meeting and talked about coptic christians and went through with documentation abused committed against, including the horrific practice of kidnapping coptic girls. ..
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so this is a hearing and a series of hearings and i can assure you we will have a legislative strategy and your information -- hy took some journalism classes. accuracy, accuracy, accuracy. i believe that deeply when it comes to human-rights and giving us the accurate picture of what is going on on the ground and useful suggestions how to proceed. the commission cannot thank you enough for your insight, council and with demand being here. thank you so much. this hearing is adjourned. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> in a few moments a new america foundation forum on jobs. and the senate is in at 10 east and for general speeches considering debt and deficit legislation when members reconvene in the afternoon. army general martin dempsey is going to be chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. the highest ranking military officer. admiral mike mullen is stepping down from opposed. he will testify today on his nomination before the senate
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armed services committee. live coverage at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span3. >> the supreme court is available at the standard enhanced the book that tells the story of the court through the eyes of the justice. 11 original c-span interviews with current and retired c-span justices. this includes an interview with the newest supreme court justice elena kagan and watching multimedia clips from all the justices. c-span's the supreme court available wherever the books are sold. >> up next a new america foundation discussion on job growth including a look at u.s. manufacturing and the role of china. this is about an hour and a half.
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[inaudible conversations] >> greetings, everyone. thanks for coming out today for the unveiling of the report by the task force on job creation new america foundation. introducing one of the lead authors of the report will be congressman john garamendi to my right who was elected in 2008 to the house of representatives, serves on the house armed services and natural resources committee, and in four decades of public service has served as member of the california legislature as lieutenant governor of california, california insurance commissioner, chair of the commission for economic development as well as having
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been a peace corps volunteer and serving abroad helping to negotiate a peace treaty during the ethiopian airtran work in 1998-2000. a man of many talents but today we are focusing on jobs. congressman garamendi. >> thank you. i will take this standing up. thank you very much for the introduction. it is wonderful to be here and to share with my colleagues and extraordinarily important piece of work that they have done and an issue of profound importance to this nation. as you were doing that introduction i was thinking about those years and it was in the early 80s, 1981 that california became concerned about competition from japan. we set out to look at what was going on and how to be competitive and issued a report
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that there are five things california needed to do to stay competitive. one, have the best education system in the world leaders will do the best research in the world, make things that come from the research and a attention to infrastructure and don't forget about the international. here we are. 1979 just as we were doing that we had 19.4 -- four man and -- million manufacturing jobs. 26% of the american economy. fast forward all those years where we neglected education paid no attention to research and never bothered with manufacturing because we were going to be a service economy. time runs on. in 2010 eleven.five million manufacturing jobs, just over 10% of the economy. something has gone wrong and it is not getting any better.
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yesterday one of those groups that monitor what congress is up to stop bar. they left with me yesterday, also left with something really scary. the president of it was there and said energy security. we have been worried about energy security. we know that our future is in the hands of dictators and unstable places in the world. energy security. he said do you know that the green technology we are so dependent upon for our energy in the future are going to be controlled by countries in asia? what are you talking about? he said you need to know that there is one company manufacturing solar cells in the united states. all the other solar cells are
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manufactured in asia. and wind turbines. on and on it goes. the report you are going to see today is of utmost importance to this nation because it calls to our attention once again a profoundly important fact. that we are losing it. we are losing our ability to make things in america and as we lose that ability we are going to lose our leadership in the world, national security will be at risk and we will not have the kind of wealth we need to maintain the middle class in america. fortunately there are people thinking about this. are have a great honor of introducing one of them. leo hindery is chairman of the economic growth and smart mobilization initiative that the new american foundation. he is a member of the council of foreign relations and an investor in things that are supposed to make a lot of money and create a lot of jobs he hopes.
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he is former ceo of telecommunications, liberty immediate and their successors, broadband. he knows what it is to be in the business world. he is also a blocker. huffington post -- let me introduce leo hindery jr.. [applause] >> this is going to be quicker even than that. senator tom harkin, we had a vote that turned down the deficit cap bill from the house. senator tom harkin table that sucker. i am going to turn it over to him. let me just say one of the reasons it is such a privilege for all of us associated with this project are had the privilege in most of my early career of being in the state of
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california, rep garamendi was my insurance commissioner. he is now our congressman from a state that the find my career. nobody in california ever spoke more eloquently about creating jobs, conserving jobs of quality than john garamendi. later in life when i became a transplant to ira la i was part of the harkin president's initiative when he was popular and on the senate side harkin has carried the mantle for so many years. a privilege for all of us who had something to do with this commission task force to have representative garamendi and tom harkin with us. comments from you and be more precise about the task force. >> thank you very much. we were late but we had that vote. how did you get here in such
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good time? [laughter] >> you don't do anything. [talking over each other] >> we did just turn down that cut cap and kill medicare. it is not really a cut. it is an amputation and not really a cap, it is decapitation of our federal responsibilities. thank you for mentioning my ratio that you may have missed. i appreciate you mentioning that. the debate going on right now is like deciding which train to take and you are on the wrong track. whether to take the train on the $4 million cut or the -- this
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pet which is the wrong truck to be on. the right track to beyond is what should we be doing right now to stimulate job creation in our society. [applause] that is why this task force is so important and at this point in time. there are two ways of creating these jobs. the private-sector could invest the $2 trillion it is sitting on right now to raise those jobs but it is not doing it. or the federal and government needs to get the wheels going to stimulate demand, i hate to use the word massive stimulus but infrastructure type program. where is the federal government going to make that money? you either borrow what or raise the revenue. i thought i would say raise the
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revenue. the private sector sitting on $2 trillion and they don't want to invest it, we can invest it. that is why we have to raise the revenue to do so and a task force came up with ideas on that. i have ideas of my own. plenty of revenue to be raised out there. you raise the revenue and stimulate the economy by putting it into human infrastructure and physical infrastructure. if we did that in a bold manner and big manner you then create the demand, demand comes up, you are putting people back to work. that would tell the markets that we are moving ahead aggressively. we are not shrinking or retracting. we are going to expand and grow and stimulate further private
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investment. that is why i say we are on the wrong track when we are arguing about these things. to see the president of the united states of my party who seems to accept the fact we are on the wrong track. i was hoping he might move and be a little bit more bowls on the jobs creation. ron widen give a great speech on the senate floor yesterday and i followed up on this issue. we need more people talking about it. that is why you and your task force and what you have been doing here has to start focusing on the single most important thing, putting people back to work. it is not reducing the deficit. that can come later. the spending now is like putting leeches on a sick person. you will just lead the more and make the more sick.
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are closed 500,000 people in the public sector loss. do they have demand? no. somehow we think we can continue to get rid of people working in the public sector. that is a formula for a downward spiral. thank you for your great leadership. i thank the task force on job creation. i read it through. you are on the right track. thank you. [applause] >> if i might add some quick historical perspective. michael is such a friend of this initiative and we will go after this as a panel and ask for your support and questions as well. this began in 2006 with tom harkin. we were running up to the iowa caucuses in january of 2008 and we saw in 2006 the uncounted men
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and women in this country for the first time were reaching a 30% cap that had been on every prior recession. in the worst recessions the nine prior recessions as we were running up to them never more than a third of the county. we reached that early in 2006. so it is something dramatic happening. that dramatic outcome has one woman or man uncounted who is unemployed for every man and woman -- we have twenty-nine million men and women who look for fair wages. not 13 or fourteen million government uses officially. with tom's guidance as senior senator from iowa in the run-up we establish the first of these task forces called the verizon project. women and men named in the press release who are on this taskforce who are involved in
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that initial effort and it was time and others's suggestion we have legislative prescriptions that were quite some -- precise to create jobs. we knew we were committed as a party and progressive to pay go. we couldn't always impose on the government to cause these initiatives to be undertaken. there has always been in the back of our mind for the senator and congressman ways to pay for all these initiatives. let me follow up on one comment the senator just made. if hypothetically the senate and house tomorrow were to pass $3.2 million of cuts we can prove that 1.8 million additional jobs would be lost almost instantly. we would be digging the hole infinitely deep. twenty-nine million men and women jumped -- what the senator
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and congressman are saying is we as a party are committed to thoughtful cuts. we are committed to responsible revenue-raising. we have worked with our leaders on that aspect as well. win the task force was coming together almost instantly migrated and many of my colleagues are here. instantly migrated to the reality as tom has commented and representative garamendi we need at least 25% of women and men in this country making something. we cannot only survive from bubble to bubble otherwise -- we know that. we know we cannot persist with this unfair trade balance with china. $260 billion consists of year after year in manufactured goods. they have $2.5 trillion
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accumulated in china. we know what they're doing with it. with some work with congress on the house and senate we now know that 90% of the cost differential between manufactured goods from china and its counterpart in the united states is through subsidy. we have pointed too many fingers that the workers of america and said it is your fault. your uneducated, your wages causing problems. we know that is not the case. it is unfair trade destroying this country. we know the business community is sitting on its hands. what the senator was describing his they need a framework. we need a framework of policies that induce the behavior's and the outcomes that will restore this economy. we are genuinely at a tipping point. we are right on the edge of number of congress being able to fix problems on our behalf soon. something along these lines.
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there are 15 prescriptions in the task force report. we are not naive in thinking it will be enacted. they were written by our colleagues in a way that could be if we had enough wherewithal in the house and senate together but they are going to be out there. one that is the most moment to me and we will spend time on, nobody speaks to it more ably than our two members here. national infrastructure bank needs to be and levered in -- institution. it needs to attack $3 trillion of decrepit infrastructure we have that not only forestall of us from full employment but is making as increasingly uncompetitive in the global economy. we are anxious to see credits that are thoughtful and responsible to the business community to bring manufacturing back where it belongs. we are partners in the green economy initiative. we are particularly sensitive to the women and men who are part of that twenty-nine.five million. i think something on the order
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of thirteen million women and men were unemployed for more than a year. these numbers you don't see publicly. we think there are nine million of them fifty years and older. five million of the twenty-five.5 million young people. they can't find the first job. the other half have a diploma and can't find the first job. there's quite a lot of attention on both of our initiatives to both. manufacturing renaissance would be the best thing that could happen to the older worker and youth employment initiatives for the younger worker. finally china is the dragon in the room, not a guerrilla. it sheets every day. we have to have the backbone we thought we heard about in the iowa caucuses that representative garamendi and senator harkin speetwo more ably than i. to my left is mulloy, one of the
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genuine experts on china trade policies. :hearn's that was supposed to be here but we ran out of chair space. he speaks more ably than i do and manufacturing. and earl schwenninger tis all together for many economists point of view. and sherle is at the new america foundation. privilege for all of us. 20 men and women who put this together. thank you for listening. thank you for her courtesy in introducing it. it is a privilege to have you here and thank god you got out of that floor. >> thanks. this does have the feel as has been alluded to of being an alternative reality in this room discussing as far as i know as
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journalists, most economists consider to be critical problems in the american economy. while on capitol hill, they are discussing how to further heard the jobs picture and there is no real vibrant discussion as far as i can tell for these issues. all you can do we believe in the new america foundation. some of these gentlemen tried to inject it into the conversation. we have had a generation since the reagan years, a set of policies that has pretended to support the american middle class, to rely on it and allow the rest of the world to rely on it as consumer of last resort for the world economy including
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china. at the same time a series of policies were termite fashion not being seen, undermining the middle class in so many ways. the real lesson of the crisis in 2008 was it was all an illusion. the american middle class was sustained by enormous amounts of debt which was promoted and encouraged by government policies as well as wall street. what we are seeing in this long aftermath, two years after the recession supposedly ended but it still feels like one, an inversion of the giant credit bubble going on in the 2,000s and we are in the middle of what some economists are saying is the worst recovery ever on record. leo alluded to this earlier but a scary figure in some ways than
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the official unemployment rate, 9.2% though the actual unemployment rate is much higher is the numbers of americans who entered the ranks of the long-term unemployed, if you look of the bureau of labor statistics data it is scary. back to 1948 even in the worst recessionary periods, 1980s, you don't see anything like the figures we are seeing now. something like 43% of the unemployed in 2010 were unemployed more than 27 weeks. many of them for more than a year. we don't have policies in place to try to bring them back. give them the training and the skills to give them the work. this jobs report, this task force report on job creation could not have come at a more
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important time as it notes it has probably not been since the great depression that so many americans have been unemployed for so long in a suppose it recovery period. more than 20 months i think it says. with that let's begin the discussion not only of the specific proposals that are laid out here but their political viability. that is the question at hand. because of what is going on and the debate going on on capitol hill, separating divorced from reality that we are facing what can the president do? what can the congress do in terms of these kinds of proposals? you already had partial introduction. leo and senator harkin as well as the congressman, sherle schwenninger is director of the
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new american foundation's economic growth in american strategy programs and one of the founders of the group and founding editor of world policy journal from 1983-'92. patrick mulloy has served four, two year terms on the u.s./china economic security commission and foreign service officer and has observed the evolution of the u.s./china relationship from close up and we will want to hear from him about the china trade issue. with that why don't we start up the discussion? i would like to start by saying -- we can start with senator harkin and congressman garamendi about these proposals being laid out in this report are politically feasible at this